Probiotics Can Help Your Mental Wellbeing Too

probProbiotics have become hugely popular for their beneficial effects on the digestive system but, as research has shown, they can also be very helpful for symptoms of anxiety, low mood and depression.

Live Yogurts and probiotic drinks are two of the most popular ways of adding probiotics to our diet. But are these the best way of doing so? The team at Eastland Family Chiropractic who supply vital nutritional information to patients as part of their ongoing Chiropractic care say a resounding ‘No’ for two reasons!

  1. Many of these products are loaded with inflammatory sugars and other processed and refined ingredients.
  2. Because there are many different strains of probiotic bacteria and some are more beneficial than others when it comes to helping with a specific problem, getting sound nutritional advice will ensure that you are taking the right bacterial strain or combination of strains for your particular needs.

Do You Ever Have a ‘Gut Feeling’?

It will be helpful in understanding the benefits of probiotics to look at why our bodies need them. If you have ever experienced that flutter of butterflies in the pit of your stomach or had a ‘sinking feeling’ when you received bad news, you will already have discovered the Enteric Nervous System (ENT), the ‘Gut Brain’ or as it is often referred to. The ENT is directly connected to our brain, communicating information  about the whole of the digestive system via a huge network of neurons.

The ENT has been the subject of a lot of research. It seems that it is responsible for regulating digestive processes such as how quickly food passes through our intestines, the levels of acid in our stomachs and the maintenance of the mucus coating lining all the tubes and passageways of our intestines. Interestingly, the research has shown that this ‘Gut brain’ monitors the balance between trillions of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ microbes in our intestines. At first, the right balance of bacteria and in sufficient amounts was discovered to help with the functioning of our immune systems and keeping our health in balance. Now it is becoming increasingly clear that gut bacteria have a vital role to play in maintaining our mental health too.

The Many Benefits of Probiotics

Having an imbalance in our gut bacteria, when the ‘bad’ bacteria start to get the upper hand or there are insufficient bacteria due (perhaps) to having to take antibiotics for a health problem, debilitating digestive problems can take hold. These include Ulcerative colitis, Irritable Bowel syndrome, Crohn’s and more. An imbalance in this microbiome, is also a factor in diabetes, obesity and Celiac disease.

More recently, researchers have been studying the link between an imbalance of gut bacteria and mental health issues such as low mood, and feelings of sadness, anxiety and depression.

Two studies in particular showed that probiotics could be extremely beneficial:

  • A Canadian Study in Vancouver showed that eating fermented foods (which have high levels of probiotics) and taking exercise had the biggest effect in reducing levels of social anxiety among the group of students participating in the study. It was also interesting that students who were most neurotic gained the most benefit from the combination of probiotics and exercise.
  • A Netherlands research project among young adults who experienced mood disorders found that among the group who received daily probiotic supplement containing eight different strains of ‘good’ bacteria, experienced lower levels of depression, anxiety and Cortisol, (the stress hormone).

How To choose The Right Probiotic Combination

As we mentioned earlier, not all probiotic strains are the same and some individual strains or combinations are better for specific health problems. Unfortunately, with the vast number of Probiotic products and supplements available, as patients at Eastland Family Chiropractic have reported, it can be hard to know which product to choose.

Thankfully, the team at Eastland are able to give a detailed assessment of your problem and advise, not just on the correct type of probiotic supplement for you, but also provide nutritional advice on probiotic-rich foods you can incorporate into your diet. Call Eastland Family Chiropractic (on 03 9095 7990), arrange your initial appointment and take your first step to feeling better, today.

Suffering from Meniere’s Disease?

mrnIf you have been diagnosed with Meniere’s Disease, you won’t need telling how unpleasant and upsetting the symptoms can be. This is a condition with no solid cure, and it’s all about management in order to live a life as free of symptoms as possible.

If you’re not sure what your current symptoms are related to, and you’re worried they might be down to this rare condition, then it’s certainly time to get checked out, as when left unmanaged, Meniere’s Disease can cause very unpleasant symptoms indeed.

Here at Eastern Brain Centre, we are experienced at dealing with Meniere’s Disease, advising sufferers on how to reduce the frequency of attacks, as well as using highly effective vestibular rehabilitation methods, in conjunction with lifestyle advice, in order to rid suffers of severe symptoms, and bring harmony back to life.

If you’re not sure what Meniere’s Disease is, basically this is a condition which affects the inner ear, often thought to be caused by a pressure problem within the ear to begin with. Symptoms include vertigo, tinnitus, a feeling of pressure deep inside the ear, distorted sound, sensitivity to sound, and in severe cases it can also cause permanent hearing loss. When an attack occurs symptoms can last anything from a few hours, or a few days before they disappear completely, and in many cases this can cause anxiety and depression, because of the unpredictable nature of the condition, and the unpleasant symptoms attached to it.

Of course, like any condition in life, Meniere’s Disease affects different people in varying degrees of severity, so management has to be centred around the person involved, rather than being a one size fits all kind of deal.

Meniere’s Disease most commonly affects people aged between 20-60, and is slightly more prevalent in women than men. When left unmanaged, the condition can progress to later stages, which can result in permanent hearing loss as a worst case scenario, including severe balance problems as a result.

As you can see, Meniere’s Disease is not something to be taken lightly, and anyone who has suffered the effects of the condition, be it to a minor degree or more severe, will be all too aware of the distressing effects this can have on a daily life, especially when an attack can be so unpredictable.

If you are at all worried about the effects of Meniere’s Disease, whether you have been diagnosed with the condition, or whether you have a suspicion that you may be suffering from it, or perhaps you are experiencing problems with ear-related issues, balance and tinnitus, then don’t hesitate to call the practice now on 03 8652 1628 to arrange an appointment. We are experienced in helping many different people combat Meniere’s Disease, manage the condition, and live a life much less impacted by this rare and upsetting problem.

Meniere’s Disease doesn’t have to rule your life, simply take action now and take that first step towards a much more stable and balanced future.

Anxiety Treatment, Strategies to Help You Cope

anxeqThe results of a 2007 study published by the Australian Government Department of Health show that anxiety disorders affected 14.4% of all people aged 16-85 years in the 12 months before their participation in the study.

Despite the prevalence of the problem, many people try to cope without help because they are fearful of admitting that they need anxiety treatment. This need not be so. Anxiety is a natural, normal emotion but one that can lead to trouble if thoughts and behaviours reinforce the anxious feelings rather than allowing them to dissipate. The resulting problems range from the exhaustion of constant, ‘low-grade’ anxiety, to the crippling effects of intense and debilitating anxiety.

If anxiety has been a problem for you, taking the decision to find out about how we can help is an important first step on your journey to recovery. To help you make your decision, here is a brief overview of some techniques for dealing with anxiety.

Neurofeedback Treatment

This treatment is suitable for almost everyone and is non-invasive and painless. The sessions involve using feedback from the patients’ own brainwaves to retrain the brain. Scans can pinpoint areas of the brain where anxiety is causing brainwave activity to be too fast or slow and normalise that activity.

Nutritional Advice

This can be of tremendous benefit as patients suffering from anxiety often have hectic lifestyles that may result in skipped meals and quick snacks of highly processed foods with poor nutritional content.

  • Supplementation is no substitute for a good quality diet full of ‘nutrient-dense’ foods that supply the body’s needs. However, where there is a serious deficit, it may not be possible (at least in the short-term) to correct this with diet alone.
  • Minerals such as Magnesium, and Vitamins, especially D3 and the B group vitamins, B6, B12, Riboflavin and Folate may be seriously deficient and this can make the symptoms of anxiety much worse.
  • Published studieshave demonstratedthat treatment with the prescription medication Fluoxetine (Prozac) can be more effective when used in conjunction with Vitamin D3 or Magnesium supplementation.

A multi-vitamin might help a little, but the correct dosage of the most bio-available forms of specific nutrients will produce optimum results. Expert advice from Perth Brain Centre will be invaluable during your anxiety treatment.

Breathing and Relaxation Techniques

Rapid breathing is common during panic attacks and anxiety episodes. Because it alters the oxygen/carbon dioxide balance in the blood, symptoms can escalate.

However, abdominal breathing techniques that slow down your breathing rate help to calm the situation and the symptoms. These techniques are simple to learn and can be practiced anywhere although they must be taught correctly to be effective.

Progressive muscular relaxation is another technique that, used in conjunction with abdominal breathing for around twenty minutes each day, will help re-program your body to relax more quickly and ‘on-demand’.

Lifestyle Guidance

In addition to the nutritional advice and relaxation techniques mentioned above, we can give lifestyle guidance to maximise the benefits of your anxiety treatment. This could include suggesting strategies for coping with insomnia, panic attacks and difficult situations.